A festive, fully-staged holiday celebration rich with color and pageantry, by the acclaimed Washington Revels company and over 75 performers, ages 8-80. Don't miss this treasure!
Eight performances, December 3-4 & 9-11 (matinees and evenings), at the George Washington Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H Streets NW, Washington DC. View the full schedule of performances (including ticket-buying options), or online now!
Just Added - View The Christmas Revels program notes online [PDF]
Our 29th annual celebration of the winter solstice begins over 1,000 years ago in what was then known as al-Andalus. Two adventurers stumble upon a chamber filled with extraordinary treasure from Spain in the time of the caliphs, when three cultures flourished – Moorish, Sephardic and Iberian. But what is the greatest treasure? The answer lies in the magic of ancient Córdoba and the rich fabric of music, dance and drama that began there and extended to much of the world for centuries thereafter.
Joined by special guest ensembles Trio Sefardi and Layali El Andalus, we’ll celebrate with poignant Arab-Andalusian and Sephardic music, lively Spanish villancicos (folk carols), a festive Sevillanas folk dance, a North African “Saidi” or Tahtib cane dance reminiscent of Morris dancing, and all the iconic Revels favorites: carols and rounds, a Feast of Fools, “Lord of the Dance,” “The Shortest Day,” a rollicking Andalusian-style mummers play, and “The Sussex Mummers Carol.” And more!
Along the way, our clever fools - Joha (or Goha in Arabic), the universal wise fool from both the Jewish and Arabic worlds, and the comically heroic Don Juan – will delight young and old with their sometimes silly, often touching antics, including dueling a terrible but funny Tarasque dragon, and quarrelling with a giggling fountain that spouts children!
Our cast includes three sages – two from medieval Andalusia, one from earlier times – who provide glimpses into more intellectual and literary riches of the period: Averroes, the great 12th-century Muslim philosopher and prolific writer; Maimonides, the preeminent 12th-century Jewish philosopher and physician; and Egeria (or Aetheria), a 4th-century Christian woman who traveled by herself from Spain to the holy lands of the Middle East, chronicling all that she experienced. As they help guide our two adventurers on their quest, these sages offer excerpts from the exotic and richly layered poetry that characterized al-Andalus.
In all this, we celebrate the legacy of the extraordinary flowering of arts and culture that began in medieval Andalusia, and honor the symbol that it has become (however imperfect and uneven the reality) of the ideal of a greater tolerance and acceptance among different religions and cultures.
Photographs ©Owen Carey 2010, all rights reserved